Beyond the LMS – Tools Every E-Learning Provider Should Consider
For years, E-Learning professionals have focused on traditional Learning Management Systems (LMS) as the core part of the E-Learning experience. Millions of dollars have been spent on hundreds of different LMS packages, but as the eLearning industry has matured and technology continues to progress, many of us are left wondering what's next for the LMS? Even more importantly, when will the LMS start to focus on the needs of the individuals and companies providing the training?
It's Time to Move Beyond the LMS
We need to break out of the confines of the traditional LMS. As a training provider, the goal should be to integrate additional tools and applications to enhance the entire experience of delivering online education. Education providers no longer have the luxury of being able to spend huge amounts of time delivering courses or assembling reports. They also need tools to investigate the profitability, or the financial viability of their course catalog, or how they can provide a better service, or any of the hundreds of other things that need to be done every day!
E-Learning Tool Checklist for Training Providers
These problems won't be solved by your LMS. We need a new toolset that is focused on making you more productive (which in turn will benefit your students). We recommend that training providers consider how they'll tackle the following problems in a cost effective manner.
- Can you Build Flexible, Powerful, Reports? Building complex reports to show you key performance indictors (KPIs) is often not supported by an LMS, or the key economic information you really want (costs, marketing source, etc.) may not be available! Consider - is it possible to quickly build a report showing you a list of every previous attendee whose certification is expiring? That's just one example of where reporting should be central to how you engage with your systems.
- Are You Ready to Support Multiple LMS Platforms? You may need to as technology continues to rapidly change. Mobile E-Learning is still in its infancy and you may find that you'll need to support multiple content delivery platforms. Is this something you're prepared for?
- Can You Easily Run Online Marketing Campaigns? Marketing your courses online with landing forms, mailing lists, and detailed performance statistics is critical to gaining the edge on other E-Learning providers. These capabilities are key even for internal training departments as they need to build awareness within the workforces they're serving.
- Do you Take Course Bookings Through Your Website? This is an absolutely critical feature that can be missing from Learning Management Systems, or it can require manual intervention! Don't accept anything less than a fully automated booking process. Delegates should be able to choose their course, input their details, pay, and receive their joining instructions in just a few minutes, without manual effort!
Feeling Overwhelmed? Don't Worry, There's Hope!
We realise that the above tools can be a tall order, particularly as so much of it falls outside the scope of a Learning Management System. Don't worry! You'll want to find a great training administration system that complements your LMS and other E-Learning tools, and are built with the training provider's needs (your needs!) in mind.
What to Look for in a Training Administration System
Make sure any system you evaluate provides the following:
- A Free Trial - You'll want to be able to login and see how the system works.
- Free Tech Support - Free Email based support should be standard.
- Integrations with 3rd Party Systems - Look for an Application Programming Interface (API) or a track record of integrating with other systems where appropriate!
- CRM, Marketing, Course Booking, and Reporting - this is the bread and butter of a Training Administration System.
- Cost Effective - make sure you're not paying huge setup fees, and you should expect to pay a reasonable subscription fee each month.
Once you have these tools assembled to support your existing LMS, you won't believe how much time and money you'll save. The extra time you gain can be used to explore new approaches to getting more students booked on more courses!
Administrate is a modern, online, low cost training administration system built just for training providers and internal training departments. Check out some of their great tips for training providers on their blog!